LONDON — Police have arrested a man in Westminster on Thursday afternoon on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack and possessing weapons.
The man was arrested at around 2.20 p.m. local time (BST) following a stop and search action carried out as part of an ongoing operation, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
The BBC reported that he was known to police and officers arrested him acting on intelligence.
He was detained by armed officers from the Met’s Specialist Firearms Command. Knives have been recovered from the scene, but no injuries were reported.
The suspect, who is 27 years old, is being detained under the Terrorism Act and is in custody in a south London police station.
Prime Minister Theresa May told Sky News that she was aware an incident took place and that a man was arrested on terrorism charges. She declined to elaborate while the investigation is ongoing.
“I think it shows that our police, our intelligence and our security services are on the alert as they always are looking to keep us safe and secure and I would say we owe a huge debt of gratitude to these people, many of whom are unseen, unheard yet the job they do, day in and day out, to keep us secure is a really important one and we should thank them for it,” May said.
Guido Fawkes reporter, Ross Kempsell, was present at the scene and shared a picture on Twitter showing one or more knives lying on the ground next to a rucksack.
The incident took place outside the Department for Culture Media & Sport and the Revenue and Customs building on Whitehall. Images show the arrest taking place just in front of a Westminster tube station entrance.
Detectives from the Counter Terrorism Command are investigating the matter, and as a result of the arrest there is no immediate known threat.
May is being updated about the incident, her spokeswoman said. “It is an ongoing police operation and we are monitoring it. The prime minister has, as you would expect, been informed by officials and she will be updated as usual for incidents like this.”
The spokeswoman said May was not at Downing Street at the time of the incident.
The incident comes just over a month after the Westminster terror attack. Khalid Masood ploughed a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge next to Parliament.
After killing four people on the bridge, he stabbed a police officer to death in the grounds of Parliament before being shot dead by the defence minister’s bodyguard.
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